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Google Stock Continues to Jump: Google is Busy, Busy, Busy
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Google (GOOG) has been very busy as of late. I have been monitoring the Google share price lately. Wow it has been totally hyperactive as of late. In early May share were around the $465 mark, earlier today they were at around $507. As recent as May 24th, Google shares were at around the $474 mark. So why is this? Why has the share price seen this jump. Well the answer in fact is because Google has been extremely busy recently. Through product releases, acquisitions, and finalizing of business deals, Google continues to drive to be the leading provider of the world's information.

So just what has Google been busy with? Well here is but a sample of what Google has been doing over the past little while.
  • Last month we reported on Google's purchase of ad firm DoubleClick for an estimated three billion dollars.

  • Google continues to update and improve their "office-like" applications offering with Google Presentations.

  • Google announced the launch of Web History, a new feature for Google Account users that makes it easy to view and search across the pages you've visited.

  • Google release Universal Search which in addition to web results, also provides news, images, and groups results right on the same page

  • Google releases Google Gears an open source browser extension that enables web applications to provide offline functionality using JavaScript APIs to store and serve application resources locally, to store data locally in a fully-searchable relational database and to run asynchronous Javascript to improve application responsiveness.

  • Google owned YouTube signs a licensing deal with major music label EMI

  • Google exec looks to start rival to NFL with announcement of the United Football League. (In some way, shape or form Google seems to have their hand in everything.)

  • Rumors of an expansion of an upcoming deal between Google and Salesforce.com which, could be good news for hosted applications.

  • Google's purchase of FeedBurner, a provider of RSS advertising and publishing services.

  • The relaunch of Google Analytics
As you can see Google has been busy. The fact that the company strives for continuous improvement and that they have the resources to do so should console analysts who monitor Google's share price. Google is in a great place right now and they will be the first ones to tell you that complacency is not an option.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, May 31, 2007  
Microsoft Demonstrates Surface Computing Technology
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Picture this a touch tone mirror telling you what to wear, or a touch tone table in a restaurant telling indicating what tonight's specials are... sound interesting? Well this touch tone or surface computing as it is being called may just be a finger touch away. Microsoft (MSFT) has unveiled some new surface computing technology that may just be what the doctors ordered to communicate to industry analysts that Microsoft still knows how to innovate with new business ventures.

Microsoft Surface is essentially a Windows Vista PC tucked inside a shiny black table base, topped with a 30-inch touchscreen in a clear acrylic frame. Five cameras that can sense nearby objects are mounted beneath the screen. Initial users of the technology include:
  • Harrah’s Entertainment - Guests at Harrah’s Entertainment’s Las Vegas properties, including Caesars Palace and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, can explore the wide variety of dining, entertainment, night life and gaming experiences available at its network of area casinos.

  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide - Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. will initially launch Surface at Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Starwood’s largest and most global brand. Surface will help bring interaction, connectivity and play to Sheraton hotels’ new lobby experience, currently being rolled out in key cities worldwide.

  • T-Mobile USA - Customers in T-Mobile retail stores might place different cell phones on Surface’s interactive surface where product features, prices and phone plans would appear so they could be easily compared.
This is pretty big news from Microsoft. It's about time. More information can be found at http://www.surface.com.

Official Microsoft Press Release on "Surface"

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 30, 2007  
Stanley Cup Finals 2007: Ottawa Senators vs Anaheim Ducks
Monday, May 28, 2007
With our friends to the south observing Memorial Day I thought that I would take the time to plug the Stanley Cup Finals that begin tonight. For us hockey fans up here in Canada, tonight marks the start of the Stanley Cup Finals. For the third consecutive year, Canada is resting hopes on a Canadian entry to bring home the Cup for the first time in 14 years. Previously both the Edmonton Oilers (last years in 2006) and Calgary Flames in 2005 lost in Game 7 of the finals. So this year our hopes rest on the Ottawa Senators. I have a vested interest in the Senators as a friend of mine, Dean Mc Ammond who plays for the Sens is in search of his first Championship. Good luck Dean.

According to Google Trend data, Ottawa seems to the favorite based on past search history.

The Sens have a good chance of doing it this year as they have been the best team since January. While Anaheim is a tough, talented team, the Ottawa Senators just seem driven. Here's a preview of what to expect in the series that begins tonight in Anaheim.

As is the case with many championship games/tournaments, the two cities' mayors threw down their gauntlets and issued wagers on who will emerge as the victors. "Anaheim in six," declared Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle Sunday on CTV's Question Period. "Ottawa in five," countered Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien.

The match up has been dubbed by sports writers as "Disneyland versus Parliament." It isn't generating a lot of interest south of the border, judging from the relatively miniscule numbers of accredited U.S. media so far that will be covering the games, but in hockey-mad Canada the team from the nation's capital is shouldering the hopes of a nation.

The losing mayor will have to fly the flag of the winning team -- as well as the flags of the winning team's city, province or state, and country -- in his own city hall. The losing mayor will also have to wear the winning team's jersey.

Further, in the event of a Senators loss, O'Brien will have to wear a Mickey Mouse hat. Pringle, meanwhile, will have to wear a "very specially constructed Mounties' hat which may have a few little additions," said O'Brien. "This is Mickey Mouse versus the Mounties."

Well the Mounties always get their man.. or in this case their mouse. Good luck to all participants. I picked the Senators last October when the season started so all I can say is Let's GO SENS!

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posted by Jody @ Monday, May 28, 2007  
New Corporate Culture/Human Resources SEO Blog
Sunday, May 27, 2007
We don't often do shameless plugs here at SEO-Space, but since Google has been getting some press about Google investing in Sergey's wife's company I thought that I should at least promote my significant others online endeavor. Looking for more information on SEO-related human resources issues? Or maybe you are looking for more information on corporate culture? Well there is a great new blog about corporate culture/recruituing blog authored by Tracy Kalancha.

Tracy has relaunched her blog with a focus on corporate culture and HR issues such as recruiting and retention. It's a great resource with a cool focus on issues that are often overlooked. Recent posts include Top 5 Corporate Culture Killers and an intersting post on the 5 Day Weekend. Be sure to check it out.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, May 27, 2007  
72 Benefits of Customers: Ode to the B2B Consumer
Call it a cliche, but in the B2C world there is a saying that "the customer is always right". While this may or may not be entirely true, there is something to be said about this statement. In the Business to Business (B2B) arena, the importance of the consumer cannot be understated. In fact in any marketing transaction the importance of the customer is the sole reasoning behind why there is a transaction in the first place.

Compiled below are a list of 72 benefits of the customer. In random order, here is the defining list of benefits of the customer entitled Ode to the B2B Consumer.

  1. They purchase your services
  2. They communicate the successful experience of using your product or service to others
  3. They communicate any negative experience with your organization
  4. They have requirements that you can solve
  5. They keep you in business
  6. They purchase additional services based on previous successful experience
  7. They appreciate your services
  8. They create their own spin off businesses through inspiration from your business
  9. They keep you honest
  10. They force you to be innovative
  11. They force you to listen
  12. They inspire you to be creative
  13. At times they force you to make difficult decisions
  14. They force you to generate proper key performance indicators for measurement
  15. They tell you about your competition
  16. They tell you when your price points need improving
  17. They let you know when you need to improve your customer service levels
  18. They force you to examine your competition
  19. They cause you to look into the future with forecasting
  20. They cause you to look at the past for trending analysis
  21. They help you decide on new geographic markets to enter
  22. They "help" you decide on which geographic markets to leave
  23. They cause you to conduct training seminars
  24. They cause you to call board meetings
  25. They provide feedback for you when you least expect it
  26. They make you profitable
  27. They help you determine profit margins
  28. They determine the length of your selling cycle
  29. They cause you to be passionate about your service offering
  30. They cause you to re-visit your service offering
  31. They cause you to re-design your websites
  32. They cause you to create new marketing and sales copy
  33. They cause you to acquire additional business units
  34. They teach you about supply and demand
  35. They teach you patience
  36. They allow you to generate brand awareness
  37. They help promote your business through viral marketing
  38. They force you to become more efficient
  39. They provide feedback
  40. They force you to be flexible
  41. They help you develop sales targets
  42. They help you refine your sales process
  43. They help you manage your brand reputation
  44. They force you to conduct market research
  45. They help you learn about your business
  46. They help you create marketing messaging
  47. They help you meet quarterly projections
  48. They develop online communities about you
  49. They create a need for your organization
  50. They help you build relationships
  51. They help you detemine which strategic partnerships should be formed
  52. They evangelize your services and your organization
  53. They allow you to market worldwide
  54. They impact your Return on Investment
  55. They force you make continued improvements
  56. They force you to adapt
  57. They cause you to utilize new technologies
  58. They force you to market through various media channels
  59. They force you to establish a competitive advantage
  60. They cause you to re-evaluate goals
  61. They communicate ways to improve consumer relations
  62. They force you to establish online support mechanisms
  63. They cause you to be concerned with customer retention
  64. They help you understand and practice relationship marketing
  65. They help you identify key growth opportunities
  66. They force you to manage lead generation
  67. They help you determine your marketing budgets
  68. They cause interaction between your organization's departments
  69. They help you build an interactive network of clients
  70. They refer your organization to other prospects
  71. They cause you to examine statistical data and web stats
  72. They cause you to restructure your business plans

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, May 27, 2007  
Online Marketing Ads Jump by 35% in 2006 to 16.9 Billion
Thursday, May 24, 2007
According to the the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers, search revenue and display ad revenue increased to 16.9 billion in 2006. This represents a jump of about 35%. In 2005, total revenues were around 12.5 billion. Fourth quarter of 2006 was record breaking with 4.8 bilion in revenue being generated. This really is exceptional growth.


All indications suggest that this growth trend will continue as marketers allocate more of their total marketing dollars and budgets to interactive/online sources. Especially if the industry delivers effective and innovative platforms for connecting with consumers.


As mentioned we would expect these trends to continue, various reports suggest that by 2010, suggest that search and online ad revenue could reach 25 billion. There is a definite wind of change sweeping through marketing circles these days. Especially where spend and marketing budgets are concerened.

The full IAB report can be accessed here.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, May 24, 2007  
10 Social Networking Sites You May Have Not Yet Heard Of
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Social networking is everywhere. The question is, is there a place for it in the Business to Business (B2B) sector? Well of course there is! It's just that a number of these online communities are created with the average person or consumer if you will in mind. Traditionally most social network communities are not geared towards B2B . Let's think back to the beginning of social networking.

According to Wikipedia, the first social networking website was Classmates.com, which began in 1995. "1999 saw the development of two competing models of social networking, the Circle of Trust developed by Epinions and utilised by Ciao.com, Dooyoo and ToLuna and the Circle of Friends developed by Jonathan Bishop." Popular social networking sites such as MySpace, for example, builds on independent music and party-like scenes, and Facebook was originally designed to mirror a college community, though it has since expanded its scope to include high school, job-related, and regional networks. While MySpace and Facebook are quite well known there are a number of social networking sites that many (including B2B marketers) may not be familiar with.

SEO-Space Presents 10 Social Networking Sites You May Have Not Yet Heard Of

There is no rhyme or reason to the following list of social networking sites, they are provided here to simply get the word out about their presence.
  1. Xing.com - Xing.com is a German Web site that is a competitor of the American site LinkedIn for social networking among businesses.
  2. Ecademy.com - Ecademy is a Social Network for Business People founded in 1998 now with over 150,000 member profiles worldwide.
  3. Twitter.com - Twitter.com is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send "updates" (text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) via SMS.
  4. Jaiku.com - social networking and micro-blogging service comparable to the online
    site Twitter. Jaiku was founded in July, 2006 by Jyri Engeström and
    Petteri Koponen of Finland.
  5. Dodgeball.com - focuses on merging location-based services with social networks to help people connect with the people and places around them.
  6. Passado.com - European social networking site.
  7. Groovr.com - a recently launched mobile social networking site goes where you go and lets your friends know too. Simply type text messages from your phone, and Groovr hooks you up where you'll be able to meet other Groovrs in your neighborhood, post photos, check-in, and check out hot new places reviewed by your fellow groove-mates.
  8. Ryze.com - networking site that can be used to grow your business, build your career and life, find a job and make sales.
  9. Meetup.com - an online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in various localities around the world.
  10. AirG.com - mobile community with more than ten million unique users worldwide that is interconnected to more than 85 mobile operators. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 23, 2007  
Google Scalability Conference in Seattle
For those of you in the Seattle area, you may want to check out an upcoming scalability conference that is being put on by Google. The conference is set to take place on June 23rd with registrations being accepted until June 15th. However when I tried clicking on the registration link I received the message that registration was now closed. This may in fact be true as space was limited.

The scalability conference is a one day conference featuring a series of talks on scalability. The Speakers and Sessions are as follows:
  • Keynote I: MapReduce, BigTable, and Other Distributed System Abstractions for Handling Large Datasets by Jeff Dean, Google, Inc.
  • Keynote II: Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products & User Experience, Google, Inc., Topic TBD.
  • Lustre File System by Peter Braam, Founder and President, Cluster File Systems, Inc.
  • SCTP's Additional Reliability and Fault Tolerance by Brad Penoff, Mike Tsai, and Alan Wagner, The University of British Columbia Department of Computer Science.
  • Scalable Test Selection Using Source Code Deltas by Ryan Gerard, Symantec Corporation.
  • VeriSign's Global DNS Infrastructure, Patrick Quaid, Technical Director and Scott Courtney, Principal Architect, VeriSign.
  • Using MapReduce on Large Geographic Datasets, Barry Brummit, Software Engineer, Google, Inc.
  • Challenges in Building an Infinite Scalable Datastore, Swami Sivasubramanian and Werner Vogels, Amazon.com.
  • YouTube Scalability, Cuong Do, Engineering Manager, YouTube.
Looks to be a great day with a number of interesting discussions. Full details on Google's Scalability Conference can be found here.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 23, 2007  
Marketing B2B Websites: 20 Organic Ranking Factors to Consider
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
When marketing B2B websites as part of your online strategy, site owners often want to rank in the top organic position for what they deem are there important key phrases. It is interesting that the focus is on ranking rather than having a sound, easy to navigate, informative site that caters to the user. Regardless, the importance of organic rankings is crucial for online visibility and presence.

Here is something that all webmasters and site owners need to consider. Concentrate on your business and on creating informative content for your audience. Understand what your prospects and target audience are looking for. Give them what you want because if you don't, your competition will. This will become even more true with personalized search. Users want to see relevant results. So picture this, a user performs a query in a search engine (ie. Google) for "online b2b marketing solutions"the results that are returned for them need to be relevant. Are the current results that are returned relevant? Well depends on what the user had in mind, but if the user was looking for a B2B online marketing provider then results such as this or this may not suffice.

So what does it take for your site to rank well in the algorithmic results? Well there are a number of factors. Here are 20 organic rankings factors to consider when marketing B2B websites. These factors are not really in specific order although some of the more important items are higher on the list.
  1. Keyword Use in Title Tag - where possible incorporate your keywords near the beginning of your page titles to communicate the topic/theme of your page.

  2. Anchor Text of Inbound Link from External Sites - a key factor for Google is IBL (Inbound Linking). Having keywords in the anchor text of links that link to your webpages (and not just your home page) helps the engines determine the topic/theme of your site as well as determine the amount of authority on the page.

  3. Keywords of Page Text - keyword density helps communicate the topic/theme of the page contributing to the overall theme of the site (is anyone else sensing a theme here?)

  4. Keywords in H1-H6 headline tags - having keywords in heading tags again helps communicate the theme and topic of your site's pages.

  5. Unique Content - having unique content with unique page titles that focus on less competitive key phrases can boost your organic search rankings.

  6. Web pages that use very few parameters in the URL (?id=123, etc.) - the search engines (and users for that matter) still show a preference for URLs that are easy to read and are logical in structure.

  7. Age of Site - the longer that your site has been around the more authoritative it should be right? Well not exactly but the search engines tend to think so.

  8. IBL Inbound Link Quality of the site - currently this is a key factor with search engines such as Google. The quality (ie. relevancy) of the sites that link to your site is extremely important if you are to rank well in the organic results

  9. Global Link Popularity of Site - similar to the above point, sites that have similar themes and are linking to your site will have a positive effect on your rankings.

  10. Overall Keyword Density Throughout your site - higher keyword density help convey topic/theme of your site to the search engines and users.

  11. Keyword use in the domain name - enhancing the topic/theme of your page and website as a whole.

  12. IBL Link Popularity within the Site's Internal Link Structure - internal pages that are relevant and have quality external links pointing to them can help rankings for other internal site pages that they link to.

  13. Keywords in image alt attributes (alt tags) - helps improve keyword density of the page and helps communicate the topic/theme of the site.

  14. The number of click throughs on your SERP listing - obviously the more times your listing is clicked on the more useful it must be right? Well not entirely, but there is something to be said for the number of times your page listing is clicked on in terms of relevancy. For those of you going to "spam-click" your listings, you can be sure the engines have filters in place to deal with this.

  15. Using keywords in bold or strong tags - obviously there is a reason why a phrase is bolded. It's to get a stronger point across. The search engines are smart enough to pick up on this as well.

  16. New content or updating old content - while this may only have a temporary ranking benefit, adding new optimized content can receive temporary success in rankings. If the page generates enough link interest the ranking effect may be longer lasting.

  17. Optimize pages for less competitive terms - So long as your pages are informative and useful, optimizing for less competitive terms can help you enjoy top organic rankings.

  18. Beware of your paid efforts cannibalizing your organic rankings - if you are doing well in the organic listings, you shouldn't necessarily enhance your rankings by having a paid listing for the same phrase. Although in engines such as Yahoo, I have seen paid inclusion have a positive effect on organic results. (Which Yahoo continues to deny.)

  19. Inbound Link Quantity - be careful with this one as too many "watered-down" links can have a negative impact on organic rankings.

  20. Rate of New Inbound Links to Site - the use of link baiting is an effective way to "naturally" build your link inventory. The search engines reward sites that naturally build their external link inventories from other relevant sites.
There are other factors that contribute to why or how a web page ranks in the algorithmic/organic rankings, however the factors above appear to have the greatest impact. If you are marketing a B2B site, you will most definitely want to keep this list handy.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 22, 2007  
SEO-Space Top 7 Search Happenings May 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
It is that time of the month where we at SEO-Space look back at the top 7 search happenings of the month. The third week of the month marks the release of our Top 7 Search Happenings of the month. Google's purchase of DoubleClick topped last months list, will another aquisiton top this months list?

There were a lot of acquisitions and a lot of rumors, it has been a busy month of activity as this month it has proven difiicult to pick just seven.... but we have and here they are.

#7. Rumor of Google To Acquire FeedBurner - It's not often we feature rumors on our Top 7 lists, but this one is pretty big. Seth Sethi reports that Google is rumored to buy FeedBurner, the feed management, analytics and advertising company with the purchase price being about $100 million.

#6. Google Hits 65% of All US Searches - According to the latest Hitwise report, Google's search share in the US topped 65%. TIED with Updates to Google Analytics.

#5. Citysearch is relaunched with updated look and new features. The updated version of Citysearch now offers recommendations or personalized suggestions based on past search behavior.

#4. ASK Mobile Offers GPS Map Navigation and Directions - ASK has stepped up their mobile search offering.

#3. Microsoft / Yahoo Merger Rumors - one week they are going to form a partnership, another week Microsoft is going to purchase Yahoo, the next week there was never any deal in place.

#2. Google Releases Universal Search - During Google's recent Searchology event at the Googleplex, it was announced that Google released Universal Search. The first pass of universal search focuses on video, news, local and books.

#1. Microsoft to Acquire aQuantive - Microsoft has paid a rumored $6 billion for digital marketing company aQuantive, Inc. Microsoft has finally found its online advertising partner, with news that it will acquire aQuantive. After missing out on DoubleClick to Google, watching Yahoo pick up Right Media and WPP buying 24/7 Real Media, Microsoft couldn't sit back any longer and decided to acquire aQuantive with a $6 billion cash deal. Nothing like being reactive is there?

Well there it is, consecutive months where acquisitions top our list of the top 7 search happenings of the month.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, May 20, 2007  
New Enquiro Survey: How Important is Online Research in Business to Business (B2B) Purchase Decisions
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Enquiro Search Solutions Inc. has released a new B2B research study that looks at the importance of online research in business to business (B2B) purchase decisions. The B2B survey was conducted with over 1000 B2B buyers, with the purpose to discover how people research B2B buying decisions online and how this varies by role within a company and by purchase phase. The study is an update to similar research done by Enquiro in 2004. Previous B2B whitepapers can be downloaded from Enquiro.com

There are some interesting findings for B2B marketers to consider. For B2B marketers who are looking to find information on B2B purchase habits, this new research paper by Enquiro is a must read. The 52 page document contains a number of interesting findings include such items as:
  • 77.7 % of users researching B2B solutions who begin their research online started with Google
  • The majority of respodents relied heavily on vendor sites as they were going through the research process
  • As the research process turns into the negotiation stage, many purchasers rely on B2B vertical search engines to help gather detailed information. Other sources included industry websites, distributor websites and offline channels such as trade journals and industry related publications
  • The study also communicated that content is still king for B2B clients

One interesting fact is that without question, the respondents prefer to access information from B2B websites in text format that is easily downloadable and transferable to others in their organization. Criticial information that these B2B prospects are looking for include:

  • Pricing
  • Extensive Product Information
  • Technical Specs
  • Information on Customer Service

Less important content included:

  • Rich Media
  • Online Video
  • Podcasts

This is interesting as many online marketers are jumping on board with some of these technologies such as podcasts and online video. While this may be great for a B2C transaction, the benefit as an influencing factor in the B2B transaction is much less. With the B2B buyer, simpler is better. This is great insight on the type of content that B2B marketers need to have on their site with key items being pricing and technical specifications.

Another surprising finding was that the responsents were split 50/50 when it came to online vs. offline conversions. Of course price point comes into place here but the stat is quite a bit higher than previous reports.

In terms of interaction with the search engines, 74.4% of respondents chose an organic link on the Search Engines Results Page (SERP) vs. a paid/sponsored link (18/7%). This stat is similar to what we've seen over the past few years and is a strong indication of the importance of organic search marketing efforts as opposed to sponsored ads. Add to this fact that the top 4 organic listings captured 52.6% of all click throughs and you get the impression that B2B marketers should be focusing on well optimized content for higher organic listings.

For those B2B marketers looking for information on B2B purchasing behaviour, Enquiro's B2B Research paper is a must read. The 52 page research paper can be downloaded free by going to Enquiro's whitepaper download.

Official Enquiro Press Release on 2007 B2B Research Study
Official Enquiro Site
Enquiro Research
Enquiro B2B Whitepapers
Enquiro Eye Tracking Whitepapers

Looking to conduct online B2B research? Contact Enquiro for more information.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 16, 2007  
Google Universal Search
Today at Google's Searchology press event Google's Marissa Mayer is announcing a feature they are calling Google "Universal Search". At long last Google is going to display results from various avenues of search on one page. You'll no longer have to search books, images/videos, pictures, and the Web separately. The new Google search will display everything on one page.

The first compoenents or "silos" as they are being referred to that are to be brought into Universal Search include Books, Local search, Images, News, and Video. Of course Web results will be there too. Marissa Meyer mentioned that the new feature will be rolling out today.

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 16, 2007  
ASK vs. Google: ASK, the Little Engine That Could
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I just came across a great post by Donna Bogatin over at ZDNet. In the post she mentions that IAC is looking to spend $100 million to promote ASK.com this year. Donna's post is entitled "Ask vs. Google: Can $100 million buy IAC search happiness?" The fact that ASK.com aspires to be Google is great because aspiration leads to innovation.

ASK has quietly been acquiring and releasing a tremendous array of tools all along keeping the user's interest at heart. I believe that the team at ASK are sincerely looking to provide the best user experience and it shows. Their ASK X offering returns a great results page unlike the traditional and dare I say boring results page offered by Google. ASK continues to release new services with the user experience in mind. Take yesterday's announcement of the ASK Mobile GPS service that they are offering. This is some pretty cool stuff. But let's not get carried away here. Google is the undisputed "King" or "Queen" if you like of Search. Google is innovative, Google strives to make the world a better place. Some say Google is the only game in town when it comes to search. Looking at the lack of innovation on the search front from Microsoft, AOL and at times Yahoo, one might actually think that Google may indeed be the only game in town. Just don't tell the folks at ASK that. You see ASK want to cause consumers to think about another option other then Google. From what I've seen, they just might do it too.

Reports suggest that ASK's new algorithm, named Edison, upgrades the capabilities of Teoma and DirectHit to do much more with the social aspects of relevancy in queries, going deeper into user traffic and communities to calculate the authorities within a given area and provide a much better search result for the user. Not a bad start. Add a few TV spots and some viral marketing efforts and the next thing you know ASK is starting to look like a great option to Google.

What about the existing relationship between Google and ASK? Well Barry Diller, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IAC, has stated that "We are in discussions with everybody. The Ask/Google expiration at the end of the year, I think we will be way ahead of it in terms of solidifying what our future is going to be. And that is about all we can say about it right now, other than I am kind of certain it will be done by summer."

Spending $100 million on the promotion of the ASK brand may just be the start of an updated version of a children's story that we have all read, "The Little Engine That Could".

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 15, 2007  
ASK Mobile Offers GPS Map Navigation and Directions
Monday, May 14, 2007
I had previously posted about Yahoo's Mobile Marketing options and now ASK has stepped up their mobile search offering. As I found out yesterday and with the formal announcement today, ASK has announced the release of a pretty cool application ASK Mobile GPS . Using what they call "predictive text and automatic suggestions" ASK claims that the new mobile feature will ensure that users get the results they want with the minimal effort (in terms of queries and key strokes).

According to the official ASK Blog, Ask Mobile GPS is the first interactive, GPS-enabled application that not only puts the best of Ask.com, Citysearch and Evite on your phone, but adds GPS to give your phone the kind of power and connectivity you'd expect from your computer. Some of the features of ASK Mobile GPS include:
  • Share My Location - where you can share (announce) your location to anyone in your phone's address book
  • Directions -my favorite feature where you are given audible driving (or walking) directions in real-time. Looking for the airport, a restaurant or more importantly a hospital in time of need can now be easier with ASK Mobile GPS.
  • Citysearch - where you can get reviews of business as well as additional recommendations for the area that you are in.
  • Saved Places - where you can save you favorite places for future reference. This feature gives a whole new meaning to the word shortcut.

There are a couple of issues that I have with this service however. For one you must have a GPS-enabled Sprint phone and secondly the cost associated with the complete version being made available for $9.99 per month (billed through your mobile carrier.) Note there is a $2.99 per month version with GPS but without Navigation. ASK does state that they are looking to bring this service to other carriers as well.

So what does this mean for B2B marketers? Well with the option to find top-rated businesses closest to you, and being able to read editorial and user reviews right from your phone, early adopter and savvy marketers are going to want to ensure their businesses can be found on a GPS-aware service. Keep in mind relevancy is key. If you are looking for the best pizza place in a certain area of Chicago, you want to be sure that the best pizza place shows up in ASK Mobile GPS.

Kudos to the mobile team at ASK as they are the first to come out with this innovative GPS mobile service. Others will be sure to follow, but ASK was there first.

Other ASK mobile search tools are available at http://m.ask.com.

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posted by Jody @ Monday, May 14, 2007  
Yahoo Mobile Marketing for B2B Marketers
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Top of mind awareness is important. But generating awareness and maintaining this top of mind awareness can be difficult to do. For B2B marketers who are looking to create awareness about their solutions and services, being innovative and finding new methods to create awareness is key. An innovative method for creating top of mind awareness is through the use of search and mobile marketing.

The major search engines from Yahoo to Google have products in place to address the need of mobile advertisers. Look to both search giants to continue to improve their mobile search solution offerings. So why should B2B marketers use mobile search as part of their online marketing strategies? Examining the mobile solutions that Yahoo and Google offer may provide some answers as to why B2B marketers should incorporate mobile search into their marketing efforts.

Yahoo Mobile Search

Yahoo! has one of the largest audiences on the mobile Web. Through Yahoo! oneSearch and Yahoo! Go, Yahoo! reaches a substantial percentage of the worldwide mobile audience. Yahoo claims that Yahoo! oneSearch reinvents search to give consumers exactly what they want on their mobile device - instant answers. vYahoo mobile services enable mobile advertisers, publishers and operators to elevate business results.

Yahoo's mobile search solution fo publishers include items such as:
  • Yahoo! Mobile Ad Network
  • Yahoo! Mobile Content Engine
  • Yahoo! Mobile Media Directory
  • Yahoo! Mobile Site Submit
Yahoo Mobile Business Services is designed to enable:

Advertisers to reach the growing mobile consumer audience with innovative, highly-targetable placements that deliver results.

Publishers
to increase the discovery and distribution of their content to mobile consumers, and to generate revenue from it.

Network Operators to offer leading-edge customer experiences, and to participate in the growth of mobile advertising

As B2B marketers, Yahoo!'s Mobile Ad Services can be a great method for increasing top of mind awareness for the services and solutions that they provide. Products such as Yahoo! oneSearch, do in fact provide a better search experience that redefines search for the phone. B2B marketers who have not looked at mobile search as a means of creating top of mind awareness should indeed consider mobile search as an addition to their marketing efforts.

Yahoo Press Release on Yahoo oneSearch
Yahoo Press Release on Yahoo Mobile Publisher Services

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, May 13, 2007  
16th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2007) in Banff, Alberta, Canada
The 16th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2007) was held this week in Banff, Alberta, Canada. For those who have not been to Banff, it is a magnificant town in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The World Wide Web Confernece brings together the key innovators, decision-makers, technologists, businesses, and standards bodies shaping the Web.

This year's conference featured almost 1000 delegates from 40 countries. Topics discussed at the conference included:

Browsers and User Interfaces
Data Mining
E* Applications
Industrial Practice and Experience
Performance and Scalability
Pervasive Web and Mobility
Search
Security, Privacy, Reliability, and Ethics
Semantic Web
Technology for Developing Regions
Web Engineering
Web Services
XML and Web Data

Of course the topic of search is of most interest to us here at SEO-Space. Discussion on search included search specific topics such as:
  • Search engine design and architecture
  • Basic search engine infrastructure: crawling, indexing, and query processing
  • Web specific technologies: the use of link analysis, click-through data, query logs, and other metadata
  • Search-based advertising and the economics of Web search
  • Data-specific web search: multimedia, blogs, news, e-commerce
  • Integration of structured and unstructured data, multifaceted search
  • Search as an enabler of higher-level applications - Implicit Search and Information Supply
  • Personalized search - location, context and activity-aware search
  • Social search and the use of "human computing" in web search
  • Query and search-user modeling
  • Search interfaces, natural language interfaces to search, summarization, post processing tools and feedback
  • Search-motivated characterizations of the web
  • Distributed and peer-to-peer search
  • Meta-search and rank aggregation
  • Enterprise and desktop search
Very interesting search track indeed. It ties in nicely with the future of search and where search is going.

Next year's (2008) World Wide Web Conference will be held in Beijing, China.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, May 13, 2007  
Jody Nimetz on the Future of Search
Thursday, May 10, 2007

Word on the street is that there is a little blogging contest going on about the future of search. At first I wasn’t going to participate, but then I had a change of heart. So I thought of what I could write about and came up with the ideas for the ABC’s of the Future of Search.

So just when you thought that search was crossing the chasm it takes a left turn and whoomp here we are. So here are the
ABC's on where I see the future of Search going.

A - ASK becomes the leader in personalization of online search and the first to provide unique results pages for each and every user. While fending off potential mergers with Microsoft, ASK develops a new set of algorithms and creates the largest social community on the Web.

B - Blog Posting becomes a key factor of ranking algorithms and more integrated with personalized search results that are seen by individual users. Blog posting becomes a necessity of big business as a means of reputation management acting as a feedback mechanism for their clients, prospects and competitors.

C - Consumer Driven Search where the consumer decides and dictates which results are relevant forcing irrelevant results into search purgatory. Consumers are able to create their own results page based on the sites, images, audio and video that they want to appear.

D - Desktop Search is built in to all computers regardless of preferred "search engine"

E - External Linking Inventories are no longer as major of a factor in the ranking of webpages as consumers of search strive for the most relevant result regardless of how many "backlinks" a site has. Search engine marketers switch focus from link building to creation of useful content that naturally attracts "industry links". Industry links become important as all webpages are given a numerical PageRank-like value as a result of a user's past search history.

F - Firefox Browser replaces Internet Explorer as the World's # 1 Browser and becomes an integral part of many users starting point for going online and conducting a search. The Firefox browser now has a personalized "trigger" feature that notifies users of queries that serve up results that may not be part of the semantic map that the searcher may have had based on previous browsing experience.

G - Google (GOOG) continues to grow as a leading media outlet and provider of the world's information breaking down global walls with a worldwide strategy that includes personalization of results via a variety of options including search history, geo-locale, and behavioral targeting. Google becomes second to ASK in terms of providing relevant results for the user experience. To avoid charges of being a monopoly, Google works closer with Yahoo, ASK and other search vehicles to provide the world's knowledge to those who seek it.

H - Hadron is a new social network collectively created by Google, Yahoo and ASK that is part of a group of related search vehicles that provides an environment for strong interaction between community members.

I - Indexing of content becomes more efficient as duplicate webpages and similar content are simply removed from the index of search vehicles. Search engines "archive" old index results that users can access at their leisure. For example a user of ASK can visit the ASK archive and select a year (ie 2004) where when they do a query for a phrase, a traditional universal SERP is returned with the actual results for that query during that specified time (2004).

J - Joost becomes the number one source of online TV and radio programming and forces satellite TV providers to provide free online programming. Google who owns Joost then become a major player in network TV and radio continuing to provide content and programming based on consumer demand.

K - Keyword Search remains important, 'nuff said.

L - Local Search explodes and advertisers place more focus on local search as users of search prefer local personalized results over the main search index when they are ready to make a purchase decision.

M - Microsoft (MSFT) struggle to keep up with Google with their futile attempts as opposed to being innovative and developing search technologies with the user in mind. After failing to partner with ASK and Yahoo, Microsoft is left as a standalone and force Bill Gates out of retirement in 2015 to revive the once mighty organization. Windows Live Search is re-branded a number of times with little success as Microsoft simply does not succeed in search.

N - Non-believers of search come to realize that traditional media is doomed to diminishing returns and play "catch up" to the early adopters of search marketing. Ad agencies scramble to acquire search engine marketing firms and the pioneers of search marketers with veteran experience become highly sought after earning salaries equivalent to those of professional athletes and Hollywood actors.

O - Organic Search switches from tactics to user experience with search engine marketers focusing on their client's consumer and with the end in mine to improve the online presence of their clients. Organic search marketing continues to develop into a specialized branch of marketing.

P - Personalization becomes the norm with search. Each and every user experience is somewhat unique and cannot be easily duplicated. Universal search results are a thing of the past except with Microsoft as they still haven't figured it out yet.

Q - Query History becomes even more important as iGoogle, iASK and iYahoo all become standard search vehicles used by the masses.

R - Ranking, Relevancy and Results now focus on the user as opposed to the complex algorithms of the past. The consumers of search drive which results are returned and ranked based on relevancy to their search query. While the algorithms are still required the engines that use them improve them to deliver relevant results. Irrelevant results are "voted" out by the users of search.

S - Search Engines become "Search Vehicles" where users enjoy a total experience and are presented with multiple avenues for acquiring the information they seek. They are presented with options based on their query where the user drives the search vehicle to find the information that they are looking for regardless of the number of links to a site, the age of a site and other traditional ranking factors.

Search becomes more important than ever as the Internet becomes the most widely used media resource with access to:

* Almost all TV programs from all over the world. Downloading TV programs becomes as mainstream as downloading music is now.
* Almost all movies as you are now able to download any movie you want (including new releases in real time) to your living room for viewing
* Thousands of newspapers from around the globe
* Millions of radio programs and podcasts
* All music released since 1950 (including songs, albums and lyrics). Due to copyright issues the source providing the music (ie. the search engines) set up a method for compensating the artist directly, record companies are a thing of the past
* Source of numerous books and magazines. Due to copyright issues the source (ie. the search engines) providing the material set up a method for compensating the publisher/owner directly

T - Targeting of user search behavior becomes more necessary as consumers continue to drive the marketing process. The consumer continues to dictate what information is presented to them and when. Consumers become tired of receiving advertisements on their phones, through their email, traditional media and as a result begin boycotting advertisers who "over-push" their products or services. There is a slight resurgence with the "mom & pop" mentality as these organizations provide a more personable experience and direct marketing approach (as initiated by the consumer)

U - Usability and understanding that the consumer is driving the marketing process becomes reality and forces large scale changes in marketing and in search. Unique search results pages for users of search continue to be all the rage and focus on the user experience is the driving factor for all online marketing campaigns.

V - Viral Search becomes the new Google and is a consumer driven service that allows users to communicate their needs via an online environment consisting of blogs, websites, online video, widgets and forums. Viral becomes so popular that they purchase Windows Live (MSN) from Microsoft and turn the also-ran search engine into the most popular consumer driven "search-vehicle" on the web. Think of it as advertising by the consumer for the consumer.

W - Web Consortium implements regulation on all online advertising. Establishes a United Nations-like presence to address online issues and concerns.

X - XML continues to deliver structured content over the Web and remains a key component of how efficient content is delivered over the Web through the various search vehicles.

Y – Yahoo (YHOO), like Google, focused on personalization and with their massive amount of user data addressed the needs of users who were willing to sign up for a Yahoo account over the years. Yahoo as a search vehicle started to learn from their user's search behavior, identifying themes, topics and web site neighborhoods/communities of particular interest. Relevant pages were given a boost for each and every user as they experienced unique search engine results. Yahoo becomes the first search engine to share actual search volume numbers with the masses as traditional SEO tactics become less effective with personalization. Rumors of Microsoft and Yahoo merging subside as Yahoo outline an effective business plan/strategy in 2008 based on the use of information gathered from Yahoo's two bookmarking services iYahoo (formerly MyWeb) and del.icio.us.

Yahoo continues to be the leader in housing user-generated content and again becomes the most visited property on the Web. As a result Yahoo reaps the reward of increased advertising revenue through their now successful Yahoo Panama Platform. With this additional revenue, Yahoo acquires Apple in a surprising move that is estimated to be worth 80 billion dollars.

Z - Zeitgeist - the philosophy of Search 1.0 from 1994-2007 becomes an integral part of marketing history and becomes part of the curriculum of business marketing classes.

and what's this a second listing for the letter "Z"? Yup

Z Index of Search - search results that remain constant. Meaning that regardless of the query performed, the search results presented will be constant based on traditional search algorithms. Users will have the choice of personalized results or selecting the Z-Index of results which are basically a universal results page similar to what we see now. The Z-Index of Search is the opposite of personalized search.

Is search marketing dying? Nope quite the contrary as "search marketing" is just finding its legs. You see we as people have been searching since the beginning of time. We have searched for food, for water, for shelter, for fire. Others have searched for companionship, searched for acceptance, searched for truth and justice. People will always search. They search for knowledge, for long lost family members, for history, for treasures, for answers. People search for the statistics, for upcoming events, for entertainment, for research. People search for Britney Spears, for apple pie, for travel arrangements, for world news, for cheaper gas prices, for real estate, for renovation ideas. People search for the next big thing, for a pair of cross trainer running shoes, for hockey tickets, for schools, for product reviews, for their future. You see people search for information. Marketing (in whatever form it may take) to those who search for information will always be there.

People will always be seeking knowledge. Long after Google is dead and gone, people will still be searching for information.

If there is no future in search then there is no future at all.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, May 10, 2007  
Bill Gates: "Search is My Number One Priority"
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, has stated that he will work with the company full-time until mid-2008. In his remaining months, he said that his efforts will be mainly directed toward "search, buyers and sellers. ... That will be my biggest thing." Gates, Microsoft's founder, said Tuesday that he intends to spend his remaining full-time employment with the company primarily focused on developing online and advertising services.

Hasn't he said this before? Hasn't he been focusing on search for a couple of years now? Youth is king and Google is youth... Google is also the king of search. Microsoft (MSFT :
Microsoft Corporation has made a concerted effort in recent years to gain a larger share of the online-services and advertising market, while going head to head with companies including Google Inc. GOOG. According to Nielsen NetRatings, in the month of March Microsoft held only a 10.1% share on the search market, while Google held 51.3% and Yahoo held 21.8%. Microsoft is hoping to gain ground by offering new types of search and services. According to other Microsoft executives, the main focus of Microsoft's search initiative is to develop what they referred to as "convenience" search, or search provided as one aspect of other services such as instant messaging. Do they really think that this is what the users want? How about relevant results? How about a better user experience with Windows Live?

Mr. Gates was addressing a crowd of ad executives at Microsoft's annual Strategic Account Summit, an event held in Seattle to showcase the company's online services and their potential appeal for advertisers.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 08, 2007  
2007 Web Analytics Test - Will the Real Analytics Provider Please Step Up?
Navneet over at the Unofficial SEO Blog had a great post on a little Web Analytics test that is currently going on with Stone Temple Consulting. The test is evaluating the performance, accuracy, and capabilities of seven different analytics packages as they are implemented across a number of different sites.

The Web Analytics providers included in this test are: Clicktracks, Google Analytics, IndexTools, Omniture SiteCatalyst, Unica Affinium NetInsight, WebSideStory HBX Analytics and WebTrends. I have used most of these analytics packages before and there are pros and cons of each. If anything, the test will prove that the implementation of an analytics package requires substantial planning, management and testing. As mentioned, the test is being conducted by Stone Temple Consulting. Here is what they listed as their criteria for the test.
  1. For each package, except WebTrends, we installed JavaScript on the pages of the participating sites. WebTrends was already installed on one of the sites participating in the project, and the implementation used a combination of JavaScript tags and log file analysis.
  2. All the JavaScript was added to web site pages through include files. As a result, any errors of omission should hold true for each analytics software package.
  3. All packages were run concurrently.
  4. All packages used first party cookies.
  5. A custom analytics plan was tailored for the needs of each site.
  6. Visitors, Unique Visitors, and Page Views were recorded daily for each site.
  7. Content Groups and Segments were setup for each site. Numbers related to these were recorded daily.
  8. Detailed ad hoc analysis was done with each analytics package on each site.
  9. Critical strengths and weaknesses of each package were noted, and reviewed with each vendor for comment.
  10. Each vendor was given an opportunity to present their product's strongest features and benefits.
The interim results have been released with the final results said to be ready for July. The final report will:
  1. Highlight major strengths of each analytics package, and outline specific scenarios where that will matter to a web site owner / web master.
  2. Highlight specific weaknesses (as well as workarounds and plans by each company to address these weaknesses) of each analytics package, and outline specific scenarios where that will matter to a web site owner / web master.
  3. Provide detailed screen shots of significant aspects of each analytics package.
  4. Provide overall commentary on each package.
It will definitely be an interesting report. I have items about each vendor that I like and items that I do not particularly like. Depending on your organization, you may require multiple analytics vendors, you may not have the budget for some of the analytics providers or you simply may not have the resources to implement the analytics solution. Will a leading analytics provider step into the limelight and emerge ahead of the other six? I'm not sure as there is something useful that each bring to the table. Them ost important thing to keep in mind with regards to web analytics is to learn how to better match a customer's needs to the right analytics package. Measure the metrics that matter. Evaluate the key performance indicators that matter most in 2007.

Stone Temple Consulting (STC) is a web marketing consulting firm based in Southborough, Massachusetts. More information is available on the company web site at: http://www.stonetemple.com.

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posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 08, 2007  
Microsoft and Yahoo: What's the Deal?
Sunday, May 06, 2007
For months now there has been a tremendous amount of speculation regarding the possible merger between Microsoft and Yahoo. Over the past week or so the rumors have picked up steam as reputable sources such as the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal are both reporting merger talks between Yahoo and Microsoft. The later putting a $50 billion price tag on Yahoo Inc (YHOO). Marketwatch.com was reporting that shares of Yahoo Inc. surged on Friday on reports it was in talks about a possible combination with Microsoft, but gave up nearly half the gains late in the day after a new report said the talks were no longer ongoing.

If the deal was to go through. it might be for all the wrong reasons. If Microsoft is looking to buy Yahoo simply to go head to head with Google, that is the wrong reason. Google understands search and where search is going. Microsoft needs to understand where search is going. They need to understand the imprtance of search and how to provide innovative search technologies to improve the user experience on Windows Live. Not to mention the fact that even if Microsoft acquires Yahoo they will only have 27-29% of the search market share. Maybe this will simply be a marriage of convenience. I find it difficult to believe that this "marriage" will work. Two different entities, two entirely different types of business, two different environments... the merging of the two will be difficult at best.

Microsoft does need to do something. Is purchasing the right thing to do? In my opinion, no. Microsoft needs to look at where they want to go. Google is innovative, full of creativity and growth. Microsoft is not, at least not when it comes to search. Any move that Microsoft makes will be in reaction to what Google has done. Successful organizations are proactive not reactive. I sense a major shakeup at Microsoft. While Yahoo has been restructuring for some time, it is not because they are preparing to merge with Microsoft.

Microsoft and Yahoo? Well stranger things have happened, but don't hold your breath. A partnership is possible but total acquisition I'm not so sure.

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posted by Jody @ Sunday, May 06, 2007  
Google and Yahoo Testing New Search Engine Results Pages
Friday, May 04, 2007
Barry Schwartz over at Search Engine Land has mentioned that both Yahoo and Google are testing new Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Nothing major here as we can expect to see a lot more of this in upcoming months.

You can expect to see changes in Google's traditional, somewhat boring SERP. I can see Yahoo, Google and Windows Live all moving towards something to what ASK has done with ASK X. You are going to see more images (as opposed to text links), more options for the user and a more "friendlier" search engine results page. I for one cannot wait.

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posted by Jody @ Friday, May 04, 2007  
The IAC Local Search Experience - Citysearch Gets it Right
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
If you haven't seen this already, you may want to check this out. Citysearch, has relaunched its site with an updated look and other "new and improved" features, including video. Video is currently available for New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In terms of local search this is pretty cool.

The updated version of the Citysearch site now offers recommendations or personalized suggestions based on past search behavior. This ties in nicely with ASK X's move towards personalization. For those that may not remember, Citysearch provides a large amount of content for Ask City, also owned by IAC. Reports suggest that Barry Diller (CEO of IAC) is "positioning his company to reap profits from location-oriented Internet advertising--that is, ads directed at people in specific places, not just people with certain interests or Web-browsing habits." Analysts predict that marketers will spend $4.5 billion on local Internet ads in 2007, and that the number could grow to more than $11 billion in 2011.

Citysearch, which has been around for a number of years, was one of the pioneers in local search existing before many of the current local search sites.

IAC/InterActiveCorp shares were up slightly with the announcement.

Forbes on the Relaunch of Citysearch

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posted by Jody @ Wednesday, May 02, 2007  
Are You Scared of Personalized Search?
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Is it just me or do I keep hearing a number of SEOs complain about the idea of personalized search? The question is why? You cannot change the inevitable from happening. Think of it this way: anything that improves the search experience for the user improves the SEO industry. As search engine marketers, if you are not considering the user experience then you are in the wrong line of business. While most people do not like change, SEOs seem to take that statement to a whole new level (which is strange to me) because the one thing that is constant in our industry is change. Each and everytime one of the major search engines update their alogorithms search engine optimizers roll their eyes and begin to panic. Remember anything that improves the search experience for the user improves the SEO industry. Personalized search results will improve the user experience.

So What is Personalization?

So just what is personalization? Here are some common definitions for personalization
  • Tailoring specifically to an individual
  • Using personal information
  • Customizing something to provide an element of uniqueness
  • A process whereby small lots of individualized parts or products are produced
  • The act of tailoring products or services to the customer's specifications
Site Personalization - A feature of a website that allows visitors to select the kinds of content they want displayed when they visit a website usually through cookies or a login of some sort.

Personalized search is the process by which the search engines tailor results from previous search behavior and adjust present and future search results based on “behavioral” preferences. Google is the first search engine to introduce personalized results on a large scale. According to Wikipedia, "...Weighing a number of factors including but not limited to user history, bookmarks, community behaviour and site click-through rate and stickiness, Google is providing results that are specific to what they believe you are searching for."

Marketers have been incorporating the use of personalization on websites for years now. Using the process of tailoring pages to individual users' characteristics, behaviours or preferences. This personalization is commonly used to enhance customer service, leads and e-commerce sales. The "personalized web page" is tailored to specifically target each individual consumer.

Components of Personalization

The premise behind personalization include:
  • the use of cookies
  • filtering - where a filter is applied to information from different sites and sources to select relevant data that may apply to the specific online experience of a customer or specific group of customers
  • User profiling/behavorial targeting - using data collected from a number of different sites, which can result in the creation a personalized Web page before the user has been formally
  • Data analysis - tools used to predict likely future interactions (think semantic mapping
So why are many SEOs afraid of personalized search? The fact is because it is unlike anything that we have seen in the past. Can you imagine a unique Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for each and every one of us? It makes it tough for search engine optimizers to use traditional tactics to position their clients webpages within index of the search engines. Relevancy is relevancy. If you provide relevant and somewhat unique content on your website, you are going to be found in the search results whether personalized or not.

My advice to B2B marketers is not to fear the personalization of search, but to welcome it. While personalization depends on the gathering and use of personal user information, privacy issues are a major concern. No question that is an issue, but the fact is that personalization of search is a great benefit to the user. Personalization is a means of meeting the customer's needs more effectively and efficiently, which will make interactions faster and easier and, consequently, increasing customer satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat visits.

Personalization is sometimes referred to as one-to-one marketing and for good reason. It creates a relationship between you and your prospect and you and your customer. In an era where marketing is being driven by the consumer this is a good thing.

Previous Posts on Personalization of Search:
  • ASK X – Prelude to Personalized Search?
  • Search Engine Marketing Gets Personal
  • Gord Hotchkiss on Personalized Search
  • The Personalized Results are Coming, The Personalized Results are Coming!
  • Personalized Search Brouhaha
  • ASK X Leading the Way with User Experience
  • Matt Cutts Interview on Personalization and the Future of SEO

Labels:

posted by Jody @ Tuesday, May 01, 2007  
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